Why Russia sent Su-35s to escort Mr. Putin to the Middle East ?

In a surprising move, Russia recently announced the deployment of a squadron of Su-35S fighters to escort President Vladimir Putin’s plane during his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. This unprecedented decision has sparked discussions among military experts and raised questions about Russia’s intentions in the volatile Middle East region.

Unveiling the Escort Mission

The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, revealed that the decision to deploy the Su-35S squadron was driven by the need to ensure the safety of the Russian leader in an area fraught with uncertainties. The deployment involved four Su-35S heavy fighters armed with R-77-1 medium-range and R-74M short-range surface-to-air missiles.

Unprecedented Security Measures

While it’s not uncommon for fighter jets to accompany high-profile flights, deploying a squadron of armed aircraft for a foreign trip is unprecedented. This move emphasizes Russia’s commitment to safeguarding its leader in the face of potential threats in the Middle East.

A Show of Strength and Diplomacy

Western military experts view this move as a dual-purpose endeavor. On one hand, it enhances Putin’s security, and on the other, it strategically demonstrates Russia’s military might in the Middle East. The Su-35S, considered a top export potential in Russia’s tactical fighter portfolio, plays a crucial role in this display of strength.

Flight Path and Diplomatic Maneuvers

The escort mission saw the Russian aircraft flying over tense areas, including the airspace of Azerbaijan and Iran. The flight path, meticulously planned, reflects not only security considerations but also diplomatic nuances. Civilian flight tracking data reveals the strategic route taken by the Il-96 plane carrying President Putin.

International Cooperation and Thankful Gestures

The Kremlin acknowledged the cooperation of certain countries that granted special licenses for Russian fighter jets to carry weapons through their airspace. This gesture of gratitude adds a diplomatic layer to the escort mission, showcasing international cooperation amid geopolitical complexities.

The Su-35S: A Strategic Asset

Why Russia sent Su-35s to escort Mr. Putin to the Middle East ?

Military expert Tyler Rogoway highlighted the significance of the Su-35S in Russia’s diplomatic and military efforts. With the UAE expressing interest in this advanced fighter model, the deployment serves as a promotional showcase for potential arms deals in the Middle East.

Russian Knights: Masters of the Skies

Why Russia sent Su-35s to escort Mr. Putin to the Middle East ?

The renowned Russian Knights Squadron, a demonstration team of the Russian Air Force, executed the escort mission. The team’s Su-35S fighters, known for their acrobatics and formations, added a touch of spectacle by forming a diamond shape and circling over Abu Dhabi airport.

Beyond Demonstrations: Combat-Ready Knights

Unlike Western demonstration teams, the Russian Knights balance their aerobatic prowess with combat training, ensuring they can seamlessly transition to frontline air force duties when required. The squadron’s dual role adds a unique dimension to their performances and underscores their readiness for combat missions.


Russia’s decision to deploy a Su-35S squadron for the escort mission reflects a complex blend of security measures, diplomatic signaling, and military demonstration. As the Middle East remains a region of strategic importance, this move sends a clear message about Russia’s commitment to both its leader’s safety and its influence in the area.


  1. Why did Russia choose the Su-35S for the escort mission?
    • The Su-35S is a modern and capable fighter, showcasing Russia’s top-tier military technology.
  2. What was the significance of the flight path over Azerbaijan and Iran?
    • The chosen route reflects diplomatic considerations and cooperation with these countries.
  3. How does the Russian Knights squadron differ from Western demonstration teams?
    • The Russian Knights combine aerobatics with combat training, making them combat-ready.
  4. Was this escort mission solely about security, or were there diplomatic motives?
    • The mission served dual purposes: ensuring security and demonstrating Russia’s military strength in the Middle East.
  5. What message does the deployment of the Su-35S send to the international community?
    • It conveys Russia’s commitment to safeguarding its interests and influence in the volatile Middle East region.